1890: The Beginning of the
This book has a complicated history. Around 1890 the publisher, Louis H.
Everts of Philadelphia, printed volumes like this one for use by the Grand
Army of the Republic. They contained richly embellished pages in which to
inscribe names and details of Civil War veterans and their organizations.
This particular volume was intended to provide a historical record of the
Grand Army of the Republic, Department of New York, members of the E.G.
Marshall Post No. 397 of Rochester.
Original Entries in the Book
This volume's original title was Personal War Sketches of the Members
of the E.G. Marshall Post No. 397, Rochester. It was presented to the
post in 1892 by Richard Curran, a Civil War surgeon who became mayor of
Rochester in 1892. Most of this book consists of handwritten lists of
names of members of the organization.
When the post was disbanded by the sole surviving member (and former
commander of the G.A.R., Dept. of New York), Joseph Bauer, Bauer handed
the book over to an Auxiliary post which took the name of James A. Hard,
who was the last soldier to hold the New York commander post. James Hard
had served as a private in the war from the Battle of Bull Run to Antietam.
After the war he became commander of I.F. Quinby Post No. 409.
1948: The Closing of the Book
By the time of the 82nd Encampment of the New York State G.A.R. at
Rochester in June, 1948, there were only two New York members left alive:
James A. Hard and Robert Rownd. Rownd, 103, was taken ill and could not
attend. Hard, at 106 years of age, was left to close the books on the
department by himself, a task which he admitted was lonely: "It's not
pleasant to think about -- that I am the last of all those thousands of
However, the ceremonies surrounding the encampment were full of
Rochesterians, who commemorated the encampment with a parade and
ceremonies at Highland Bowl. Over 13,000 people attended the ceremony at
the bowl, in which Hard was wheeled onstage to officially close the
gathering. At the ceremony, he turned this volume over to the City of
Rochester "while flames from the traditional campfire soared skyward in
front of the stage" (as described in a newspaper article of the time).
Miss Emma Swift, head of the History Division of Rochester Public Library,
accepted the volume on behalf of the city. The library was placed in
charge of preserving it in its new purpose as a scrapbook of Army records.
What the Book Contains
In its new incarnation as a scrapbook, the book was re-titled as
Rochester Civil War Veterans: Roster and Scrapbook, Grand Army of the
Republic, Dept. of New York and Auxiliaries. Unused pages were
converted to use as a scrapbook. The scrapbook pages contain many
newspaper clippings and pictures. Also, there are several pamphlets
inserted into the book which deal with various veterans' organizations and
On June 11, 1948, Mae G. Hughes, Past Service President of the National
Woman's Relief Corps, G.A.R., wrote the following words in the "Record of
Presentation and Acceptance" page of the Roster. Her words seem the best
description of the true meaning of this historic volume: